What Can Parents Do About Heavy Metals in Baby Food?
I've heard about heavy metals in baby food. How can I keep my baby safe? - Keeley
Heavy metals are found in soil, water, and the air we breathe. Plants take up these
metals as they grow and can end up in the food we eat. Our bodies need some heavy
metals (like iron and zinc)
to work well, but other heavy metals (like arsenic and lead)
are harmful. Some crops, like rice, absorb more of these harmful metals than others.
Heavy metals can build up in the body over time and cause problems with learning,
behavior, and attention.
When making baby food, companies add vitamins and minerals along with food additives
that may contain heavy metals. Some baby foods have higher levels of heavy metals
than others, including:
infant rice cereal
infant rice puff snacks
teething biscuits and rice rusks
carrots and sweet potatoes
Even organic baby food can have heavy metals in it.
The amount of heavy metals is low in baby foods, but you can take steps to lower
it even more. Here are ways to do that:
Offer your baby a variety of healthy foods. Eating a balanced
diet can lower your baby's overall exposure to heavy metals.
Don't only give infant rice cereal. Give your baby other cereals
like oatmeal, barley, quinoa, and multigrain cereals.
Keep giving carrots and sweet potatoes. They contain important
nutrients, but serve them along with other fruits and vegetables.
Don't give your baby fruit juice. Juice is not recommended for
children under 1 year old because it can cause cavities and weight gain. Formula
or breast milk
for infants and water and milk
for older children are the best drinks. Instead of juice, give your baby fruit because
it has more fiber and nutrients.
Make your own baby food. You can avoid additives and baby foods
with high levels of heavy metals by making your own. Serve the same foods your family
eats, prepared in a way that your baby can eat. Infants just starting solid
food will need smooth purées.
Choose white basmati rice and sushi rice when making rice dishes.
These kinds of rice have less arsenic than other types. Rinse rice thoroughly before
cooking. Cook rice in plenty of water, and then drain off the extra water. This helps
lower the amount of arsenic.
Limit baby food snacks, including rice puffs and oat ring cereals.
Instead of processed snacks, give your baby puréed, mashed, or soft foods that
are rich in nutrients, such as fruit, vegetables, eggs, cheese, or yogurt. This also
helps your baby eat less added sugar, salt, and refined flour. If you serve your baby
prepared snacks, choose rice-free or multigrain options.
Don't use teething biscuits. Instead, give your baby a cold (not
frozen) teether or wet
washcloth to chew on.
Test your water. Tap water may have lead in it from lead pipes.
Well water may contain lead and other heavy metals.